The New York Personal Injury Blog

Upstate Neighbors Sue Over Noisy Wind Farm

Fans are noisy. The motors and wind-pushing blades create a constant hum. After a while though, you can tune it out. But, could you tune out thirty-seven fans, each standing four hundred and seventy six feet high?

Neighbors of the Hardscrabble Wind Power Project are suing because the wind-farming renewable energy project is simply too loud, too large, and too close to their homes, reports the Courthouse News Service. Sixty plaintiffs have signed on to the lawsuit. All live within a mile of the renewable energy project.

The complaints of the plaintiffs vary. One woman claims that her dairy farm has become unprofitable because her cows have produced less milk since the turbines arrived. Another couple have been unable to sell their home, presumably because of the noise. They were forced to rent another residence and were forced into bankruptcy. An alpaca farming couple had to shut down their business.

An alpaca farm fails? Do any succeed? A couple can't sell their house in the middle of the Great Recession? It happens. Cows are producing less milk? Does noise mean less milk? Are the cows simply aging?

Snark aside, that might prove to be the exact point of the lawsuit. While the turbines probably are noisy, and may be decreasing the value of the neighboring properties, in order to recover damages, the plaintiffs will have to prove causation.

It's not all hopeless however. The plaintiffs might be able to obtain an injunction to either shut the farm down or reduce their operations to certain hours. (Can wind turbines be turned off?)

In order to prevail in a nuisance action, the plaintiffs will have to show that their neighbor's actions are keeping them from using and enjoying their property. The court will then weigh the damage to the neighbors against the damage that would happen to the business in deciding whether or not to issue an injunction. An injunction could either force the wind firm to close or restrict their operating hours.

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